Auction Watch #95


M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting is a unique and niche hobby. Long-time M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors enjoy watching the prices ebb and flow; like watching lessons from history go unlearned only to be repeated again and again.

What if some M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting habits could be identified? Low starting bids are obviously attractive to potential bidders. To sellers low starting bids are disconcerting because they fear their M.U.S.C.L.E. figures will be sold for less than their value. More specifically, sellers are concerned they won’t get the final price they want.

Most often sellers have completed over priced their lot of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures – often with comedic effect. This week provides an opportunity to look at three similar types of auctions: (1) a smaller lot; (2) a decent sized lot; and (3) a Satan Cross.

The first auction (from the first group), Vintage YSNT Muscle Men Lot of 22 * Musclemen Y S N T * Select 1984 w/Container, features 22 figures plus an opened 10-pack. An argument could be made that the inclusion of the empty 10-pack, four MUSCLEMANIA figures, and an awesomely warped #134 make a better than average lot. The counterargument could be that many of the figures appear to be pretty dirty or quite damaged.

Either way, this is a decent smaller lot of figures. And the $0.01 starting bid certainly makes it attractive to almost any potential bidder. The $10 shipping cost certainly detracts from the auction, but hopefully the lot will be sent in a medium USPS flat rate box.

The final price of this auction will be $15.50. The comparison to this auction, 19 Figures with a $16.99 starting bid, will not sell.

The second auction (from the second group), m.u.s.c.l.e men toys, features a mixed lot of 50 M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. The auction picture doesn’t help to sell the figures, but the $0.99 starting bid will sell itself. Inexpensive lots of figures are always attractive to M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors. It provides an opportunity to pick-up trading fodder, expand a collection, or pick-up figures to be customized in some manner.

This size of lot can also entice bidders to spend a little bit more. With very large lots the overall price can scare away bidders. The per-figure price may be low, but the final auction price is hundreds of dollars. Even if collectors splurge at $0.80 per figure the total cost is only $40.

The final price of the second auction will be $21.50. The comparison to this auction, 55 Figures with a $44.99 BIN, will not sell.

The third auction, M.U.S.C.L.E. Satan Cross original Muscle Men Rare with Trash Can, features a Satan Cross with an empty 10-pack can. Even with crystal clear auction pictures and a fair $20 starting bid this auction will likely be influenced by the outcome of this auction plus the ongoing nature of this one, this one, and this one.

Even with so many Satan Cross auction available, the third auction’s pictures clearly showcase the wonderful condition of the figure. This will attract collectors looking to add Satan Cross to their collection, plus the collectors looking to upgrade their figure.

The final price of the third auction is difficult to predict. A damaged Satan Cross sold for $50 in December 2011 and yet the most unique Satan Cross figure ever seen only sold for $32. The final price of the third auction will be $56.

Will these lower starting bid auctions end higher than their counterparts? Soon there will be an answer to the hypothesis.

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